Michael S. Smith II
Managing Editor, Strife Blog
Mike Smith is an internationally recognized expert on the influence operations of Salafi-Jihadist groups, open source intelligence (OSINT) specialist, and an international consultant in the fields of preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE). During the decade prior to beginning his PhD research in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London in 2021, his work with prominent think tanks and as the chief operating officer of Kronos Advisory, a security consultancy he cofounded in 2011 with Medal of Honor recipient Major General James E. Livingston, USMC (Ret), was at the nexus of strategic and tactical threat analysis, technical mitigation support, and the formulation of United States national security policy. His perspectives on opportunities to more effectively manage threats linked to al-Qa’ida and ISIS were regularly sought by members of the United States Congress, officials with the Executive Office of the President of the United States and governments comprising the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, which, in 2017, invited him to serve as the keynote speaker during a counterterrorism practitioners conference hosted at the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office Headquarters in London. Also in 2017, he served as an expert witness during the United States Senate’s high-profile hearing focused on terrorists’ and Russian intelligence’s uses of popular social media platforms to wage online influence operations.
His work investigating the activities of al-Qa’ida and ISIS, along with his perspectives on issues affecting global security have been covered extensively by major news media in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and the Middle East. In 2016, for his collaborations with anti-ISIS hactivists, Foreign Policy magazine listed Mike among the “Moguls” in its annual list of the “100 Leading Global Thinkers” and Fast Company magazine ranked him 14 on its annual list of the “100 Most Creative People in Business.”
Mike has (co)authored pieces published by a diverse mix of influential policy and news platforms, including Foreign Affairs, Lawfare, CNN.com, FoxNews.com, The Times of London/Sunday Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Time magazine’s Battleland Blog and World Politics Review, and his scholarly work includes a chapter on ISIS in the first edition of the Routledge Handbook of International Relations in the Middle East (2019). Prior to beginning his PhD research, which examines OSINT’s utilities in P/CVE initiatives, Mike also served as an adjunct member of the faculties of Johns Hopkins University’s MA in Global Security Studies and MS in Intelligence Analysis programs, for which he developed and taught a course focused on the OSINT discipline.
He received his MA in Intelligence and Security Studies, with Graduate Certificate in Intelligence Analysis, from The Citadel and his BA in Arts Management from the College of Charleston.
Follow him on Twitter at @MichaelSSmithII.
Series Development Coordinator, Strife
Maria is a MA student in the International Peace and Security program at King’s College London. She graduated with a degree in International Relations from Emmanuel College in 2020. Her broader research interests include women in migration and peace-building in post-conflict settings.
During her undergraduate degree, she held policy and research internships at the Attorney General’s Office in their Human Trafficking Division, and at Ignite Mental Health at Harvard Innovation Labs. Most recently, she has worked as a Project Coordinator for Free to Run, an international NGO.
Strife Writing Fellowship Coordinator, Strife
Biography not yet available.
Tyler McBrien is a current MA student in International Relations at the University of Chicago.
Prior to that, he wrote case studies on good governance and public administration at Princeton University’s Innovations for Successful Societies and worked as an editor with the Council on Foreign Relations’ public education initiative World101. Tyler served as a Princeton in Africa Fellow with Equal Education in South Africa, and graduated with a degree in History and International Relations from Claremont McKenna College.
He has contributed to Foreign Policy, Inkstick Media, History Today, The National Interest, The Diplomat, Africa is a Country, and elsewhere.
You can follow him on Twitter @TylerMcBrien.
Aaron Kiesler is an MA candidate in the Terrorism, Security, and Society program, where he intends to investigate links between corruption, governance, extremism, and instability. Through his time in the Department of War Studies, Aaron seeks to better understand the world and conflict, and ultimately become a stronger and more intellectually well-rounded public servant.
Prior to his studies, Aaron worked as a government relations professional at Lewis-Burke Associates LLC in Washington, D.C. During this time, he worked with clients, universities and national labs, to shape Congress’, the federal agencies’, and the national security community’s thinking around emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, cyber, biotechnology, and 5G; as well as other policy challenges related to science and national security. Prior to that, he worked as a staff member for Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), who sits on the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Aaron, originally from San Jose, CA, has traveled to 27 countries on all five continents and is currently learning his third language. Outside of his life at KCL, Aaron enjoys running, hiking, and tennis, a welcome change of pace after having survived eight years of rugby and American football.